Gone Girl, based on the same titled novel written by Gillian Flynn –who also wrote the film’s screenplay–, is David Fincher’s third collaboration with music composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. If you’ve seen The Social Network or The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo then you are more than familiar with the haunting masterpieces these artists have been creating over the last five years. This film takes you through what appears to be a missing person case, with the media viciously pointing their finger at Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) for the disappearance of his wife Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike); Uncovering details that question what really took place.
Ohio Wesleyan has a strong politics and government department, but they added to it with a pre-election analysis from George Washington Univ. professor and Washington Post contributor John Sides.
Like the discussion with columnist Connie Schultz, Sides’ presentation was open to the public and had a strong following from Delaware residents. Sides, like many analysts, expects the Republican Party will win the Senate majority by a narrow margin; he explained why and what impact that could have.
Sides’ cooperative forecast for the Washington Post, based on scientific analysis of polling data, gives the Republican Party 52 seats and Democrats 48, with a 67 percent probability. It involved historical data on midterm declines for the President’s party, the President’s popularity, the party base of seats in question and the candidates selected.
After a lengthy explanation, Sides took numerous questions from the audience, starting with OWU politics professor Jenny Holland on how public dissatisfaction with the government would affect voter turnout. Sides responded that turnout is hard to predict, but dissatisfaction may be counteracted by competitive races, which Americans tend to enjoy.
Sean Kay, director of OWU’s Arneson Institute for Practical Politics, raised the question of several races expected to go Republican but are very close currently. Sides acknowledged this but said the Republicans will still likely win, but only narrowly.
History professor Michael Flamm raised a question about the influence of outside money in political races as a result of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision and others; Sides said that it’s hard to tell what role this plays when a candidate wins or loses.
In the 2012 presidential election, the Obama campaign raised $1.1 billion, including $300 million from outside left-wing groups. Romney’s campaign raised $1.2 billion, around half of which was outside money as Sides put it.
“Outside money helped Romney keep pace, because he himself was not raising as much as Obama himself was raising,” Sides said.
On foreign policy, Sides predicted that President Obama would take more unilateral action should the GOP win the Senate.
“Then the question is, what’s he going to do?” Sides said. “And that’s where I don’t know the answer. I think the Middle East peace process is once again non-existent, you’re going to have this limited war in Syria and Iraq that he’s already announced.”
When asked about the effects of gridlock on the 2016 election, Sides pointed out that the leading predictions put the Republicans short of the 60 votes needed for a supermajority, which affects many areas except federal appointments and the budget.
Congress and the White House may compromise, he said, or the President could be sent laws that he would certainly veto on political grounds, causing more gridlock.
“That’s the same old political game, nothing’s happening,” said Sides.
Since the 2010 midterms, the House has largely acted in opposition to the Democratic agenda, he pointed out, but they may pursue passing policy when they have more power.
With the midterm elections just days away, Ohio Wesleyan University hosted Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Connie Schultz for a discussion on current issues and the election with students and local residents.
She was introduced by OWU’s journalism department chair Paul Kostyu, who described Schultz as someone who is “infinitely attached to the political landscape (in Ohio) and knows it well.”
In Schultz’s 2005 award citation, the Pulitzer Prize Board calls her work “pungent columns that provided a voice for the underdog and underprivileged.” She writes a nationally syndicated column, previously wrote a column for the Cleveland Plain Dealer and is married to Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH).
Schultz discussed her views on several partisan issues while taking questions from the audience, which included a large number of female students and residents. The importance of women’s involvement in politics and the press was something she stressed repeatedly.
“I am a feminist, I don’t see how I could not be,” she said, crediting the women’s movement with allowing her to work as a national columnist. “…I get to write about politics and get to be one of the only women often on the op-ed page because of the feminist movement. I am a feminist out of gratitude, if nothing else.”
She said that both the Democratic and Republican parties need to cultivate more young people, including women, as active members so they could remain competitive.
“You need multiple parties, you need multiple voices and multiple viewpoints to reach consensus on things and also to gain the public trust,” Schultz said.
“…When you’re talking about politics, you’re supposed to represent all of us in all our varied views and (officials) are supposed to represent the best in all of us.”
She also discussed likely candidates for the 2016 presidential nomination, including Ohio’s Governor John Kasich. She also thinks he may be challenged by Republicans including Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
On the Democratic side, she expects former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will run but named New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Governor Martin O’Malley of Maryland, and potentially Vermont’s Senator Bernie Sanders as candidates who may run if Clinton does not.
“You’ve got two open fields, this is going to be quite a season,” Schultz said.
She said definitively that Sherrod Brown would not be running for the Democratic nomination, and described how challenging the position of President must be.
“There’s a reason they go gray so quickly, we have no idea,” she said. “Every day, they are told about threats to Americans around the globe. That’s how they start their day.”
Local resident Marianne Gabel said Schultz’s program was the kind of discussion politicians should have with voters but often don’t.
“I thought she nailed the issues pretty well,” Gabel said, adding that the program went well.
“You’ve got a real breadth of the community out here, all ages, students,” she said. For Gabel, a lawyer, the message about women in politics was particularly important.
“I think women in politics can have more of that compassion, more of that understanding of life experiences of people who aren’t at the top and empowered.”
Ohio Wesleyan student Lauren Rump, a Cleveland native, has followed Schultz’s writing since it appeared in the Plain Dealer and was very excited to see her in person.
“I really like that she was saying that there needs to be women on both sides involved in politics, like Democrat women and Republican women, and independent women and Green Party women,” Rump said. “We’re only more informed if women are involved on all sides and everyone’s opinion is valued.”